Augusta Economy

More News | Fort Gordon | Plant Vogtle | Savannah River Site | Editor

Police officers recall former headquarters

  • Follow Metro

Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Wylds remembers the old Augusta Police Station as something out of a cops-and-robbers movie he saw as a kid.

The former city policeman was only 18 when he began his law enforcement career in the now-empty building about 32 years ago.

"Back then it was what I envisioned a police station and a jail to be," said Lt. Wylds, who was just out of high school when he joined a police cadet program.

The recent announcement that the former headquarters might be razed for downtown development has many remembering their days working there. With consolidation of the city and county in the 1990s, many of the former city policemen still serve in law enforcement with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

They say they have fond memories of the two-story, 15,000-square-foot brick building at the corner of Reynolds and Ninth streets, which housed the Augusta Police Department for more than 60 years. It was, for many, the heyday of their careers -- when car chases and the occasional practical joke were common.

A national developer is considering building condominiums and a hotel on the site.

Lt. Wylds remembers the cheese sandwiches that were the staple of the jail inmates' diet -- and the few who couldn't get enough of them.

Much like the character Otis on The Andy Griffith Show , there were the regular town drunks, some of whom would try to get arrested before the end of the night for a place to stay and a meal.

The demolition of the building was approved during a March 27 meeting of the Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission and a representative of the developer, according to Planning Commissioner George Patty. The building will stand until the developer can produce a complete site plan, which it has a year to do, Mr. Patty said.

Even when it's gone, Lt. Tony Walden, now the head of the property crimes division at the sheriff's office, will still be able to remember the spot where he started his career. Pictures of the building decorate his office.

He recalls meeting in the roll call room to collect the day's assignment, which he wrote on a bulletin and stuck in his police cap. On his first day, Lt. Walden said, he was collecting his gear when a supervisor asked him why he had stuck his bullets in his pocket, instead of his new .38 caliber pistol.

"He said, 'What are you doing?' " Lt. Walden said. "I remember saying, 'I ain't going to load my gun. I don't want to hurt anybody.' "

When Deputy Bob Durland walked his Broad Street beat for the department during the evening hours in the late 1950s, rowdy, drunk men and women would often line the street.

After the bars closed at 2 a.m., they would pile into a nearby 24-hour diner for a late-night meal, he said.

Deputy Durland, who retired from the department and later returned to work at the Richmond County jail, said soldiers from Fort Gordon and workers from Savannah River Site kept downtown full on the weekends and his officers busy.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (13) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Ole School
1
Points
Ole School 04/12/08 - 03:34 am
0
0
I can remember those days

I can remember those days also , My Father was down there ! MAC # 297 in car 5

pizzato
3
Points
pizzato 04/12/08 - 07:07 am
0
0
I remember the cops getting

I remember the cops getting "tips" to "look the other way" and getting tickets torn up. Back then the officers would "look out for you".

christian134
1
Points
christian134 04/12/08 - 07:40 am
0
0
I hope Augusta will not allow

I hope Augusta will not allow one more bit of history be taken down.....:-(

Jackie
0
Points
Jackie 04/12/08 - 08:18 am
0
0
Please don't destroy the

Please don't destroy the history of Augusta. I was a very young child, and lived across the river in SC. My mother carried me into Augusta shopping on Broad St., usually at J.B.Whites and Davidson's. Then we could get a great hotdog at S.H. Kress lunch counter. She would go to her hairdresser on a street near the police departmemt, and I remember seeing the sign on the police department, My mother passed away 20 years ago, but she and I spent many happy days together on Broad St. and did not worry about anyone mugging us. I no longer live in the Augusta area, but read the paper daily on line. I really miss it this time of the year during the masters and especially the good food at the Town Tavern.
There's no place like home, keep Augusta beautiful.

smithrw
0
Points
smithrw 04/12/08 - 08:19 am
0
0
Thirteen steps to the

Thirteen steps to the Captians Office and fifteen to the Chiefs office. A picture to the best guy's that a man could work with!! Save and remember your history Augusta.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 04/12/08 - 10:57 am
0
0
When was the traffic court

When was the traffic court building torn down next door? I remember having to go there six Saturday mornings in a row for punishment getting a speeding ticket.

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 04/12/08 - 11:25 am
0
0
I staggered out of a bar one

I staggered out of a bar one night on Green St. and opened the back door to, (what I thought was a cab). I slurred, "take me to 6th & Broad St." The cab was a squad car and the laughing Officer took me to 9th & Reynolds.

joesimpson
0
Points
joesimpson 04/12/08 - 08:18 pm
0
0
I remember the trikes the

I remember the trikes the city police officers used to ride when my mom took me downtown on her newspaper rack route. The sound of those Harleys to a 5 year old was deafening. I saw someone mention the hotdogs at Kress. Let's not forget the Snappy burgers either!! So much history downtown, though I understand the need to tear down the old to make way for the new, a little piece of my childhood dies everytime I see something downtown get demolished.

Edward1968
624
Points
Edward1968 04/12/08 - 08:47 pm
0
0
If only those wall could

If only those wall could talk.

aw8ngjustice
22
Points
aw8ngjustice 04/12/08 - 08:55 pm
0
0
My mother used to take my

My mother used to take my sister and me shopping every Saturday. We walked up and down Broad Street, going in all the department stores. Then we would have lunch at Kress's, Woolworth's or maybe go to McDonald's. It was a memorable time in my life.

Mudfish
0
Points
Mudfish 04/13/08 - 12:11 am
0
0
I remember the shrimp and

I remember the shrimp and rolls at Kress. My mother worked across the street at Belk in the boys department and would go down there with my father and we would eat over at Kress. Great food. I also remember Wilkersons hotdogs as well. I also rode with officers when they allowed this. I also remember Lt. Wylds as a cadet. I also remember pranks to relieve the tension while waiting for calls. As a firefighter, I can remember working with many of the deputies and the brotherhood that was there between the firefighters and officers. John Francisco was an officer and then deputy that had the great respect of a firefighter during the time period that he was alive. If you needed the help of a deputy and it was his shift, you got the help and also his presence every time. There are too many memories both good and bitter sweet to say here so I guess I need to shut up and go to bed

timereader
0
Points
timereader 04/13/08 - 06:14 am
0
0
MY Granddaddy was a captian

MY Granddaddy was a captian there. We have a picture of him sitting at his desk in the old building. He died in 62.

Ole School
1
Points
Ole School 04/13/08 - 09:03 am
0
0
My God-Father was a Captain

My God-Father was a Captain down there, My father worked there , and even two uncles worked there, I would like to just walk through the place and take a few pictures before its torn down !

Back to Top
loading...
Top headlines

Christmas Eve rains to dry up

If Wednesday seemed particularly wet and dreary, you would be right. The day broke the record for the wettest Christmas Eve that Augusta has ever had.
Search Augusta jobs